Installing a dishwasher in an old kitchen

Nathan Gilbert and Richard Trethewey team up to assist a homeowner in creating space and installing a dishwasher. Richard was contacted by a homeowner looking for assistance installing a dishwasher into a 1950s home. Although installing a dishwasher is easy, it can take some effort if the kitchen does not have one. Nathan helps Richard tackle the project.

How to retrofit a dishwasher

Step 1: Take measurements

  • Mark the area where you will remove the sink/countertop from the countertop.
  • Mark the areas where you want to cut the opening in your cabinet.

Step 2: Take the countertop off

  • A framing square or a piece of scrap wood will be needed to make a precise cut. You will need to square up the wood so it matches the markings on the countertop.
  • Fix the wood to the countertop
  • A laminate scoring knife can be used to make a preliminary cut with the guidance of the wood.
  • You can use a circular saw for cutting 1/8 to 1/4 inches from the line created with the scoring knives.
  • To cut parts that a circular saw can’t reach, use an oscillating tool.

Step 3: Take out the cabinets

  • Nathan used the same process as for the countertops to remove the cabinets. You will need scrap wood for a line. Then use a circular saw or oscillating saw to cut the pieces.
  • Use a belt sander or a brush to clean the sides.
  • You should ensure that the dimensions of your new dishwasher fit into the space available by measuring the depth and the height.

Step 4: Connect your dishwasher

  • Turn off the water supply.
  • Replace the hot water supply valve with an angle stop dishwasher supply. This valve connects to the dishwasher horizontally and the faucet vertically.
  • Install a branch tailpiece to replace the sink’s tailpiece. This tailpiece can be used to connect the drain to the dishwasher. Richard installed the tailpiece because there is usually an outlet for this connection in the garbage disposal. This is a simple threaded connection that can easily be tightened by hand.
  • Place the dishwasher in place. Connect these parts: Drain the line from the tailpiece. 2. The supply valve should be flooded with water. 3. Plug the power cord into the outlet. It is easier to install the outlet because the homeowner had one already installed in the cabinet’s back.
  • Test all connections and turn the water off.
  • The butcher block should be cut and sanded to the dimensions of your countertop. Attach clips to attach the dishwasher to the countertop’s underside.
  • Apply silicone caulk to the walls and edges of countertops where the butcher block will be placed. Place the butcherblock in its proper place.
  • Attach the top cover of your dishwasher to the bottom plate of the new countertop using screws. Finish the countertop. Nathan recommends using a mineral oil because it is safe for food.
  • For countertops, you should apply 2-3 layers of countertop sealant before using them. You should apply another layer every other month.


Richard installed a 55 dBA Stainless Steel Front Control Built In Dishwasher with Steam Clean from GE Appliances. Richard connected the dishwasher using a standard dishwasher line, a drain Y tailpiece, and a push-connect shutoff valve. All of these items can be purchased at plumbing supply houses and home centers.

Nathan used a variety tools to adjust the cabinets so that there was enough room for the dishwasher.

Richard used an old piece from Newton Generation NEXT House to bridge the gap between Formica countertops, and the sink. Butcher block is also available at The Home Depot.

William C Gilbert Carpentry provided expert assistance in this segment.

The Home Depot has Dishwashers


  • Dishwasher
  • Butcher block
  • A scrap piece of wood
  • Branch tailpiece
  • Standard dishwasher hose
  • Silicone caulk

Tools & Materials

  • Drill

  • Laminate scoring knife

  • Circular saw

  • Oscillating saw

  • Belt sander

  • Guide rail

  • Pipe cutters

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